Rant: Attitudes Towards Pro Doms

 
**Update   July 2010  –  During my site-wide update in 2010, I noted that the views which I expressed in this post in June 2007 have changed somewhat.   At the time I wrote this post I felt convinced that most pro doms weren’t sex workers.

'Touche-moi pas!'  Thanks to Morburre for his cc-by-sa licensed cartoon.

Thanks to Morburre for his cc-by-sa licensed cartoon.

What I’ve learnt since then is that regardless of what a pro dom does or doesn’t do with her clients, the  reasons  those clients employ her are almost  entirely  sexual.   And that fact alone makes pro doms sex workers  (as I understand the term).

I’ve spent a significant amount of time  in the social company of pro doms, their clients, and their social partners since I wrote this post.   Based on my experiences with pro doms and their attitudes towards BDSM, sex and relationships in general, I’ve come to understand that regardless of the amount or extent of explicitly erotic contact they do or don’t do professionally, many pro doms’ views on sex and relationships share a lot of similarities with those of many sex workers, and that’s another reason pro doms fit the definition of sex worker as I understand it.

But I’ve always regarded sex work, sex workers, and the sex industry as entirely unrelated to the way I or any other individuals choose to conduct our personal relationships.   And I knew then  (as I still know now)  that sex workers, sex industry-propagated ideas and sexual misconduct by individual fuckwits are all separate and different to private social relationships in general.   So as I’ve always been, I’m fine with people employing sex workers, and I’m fine with sex workers doing sex work.
 

    (not that sex workers give a shit about what I think, but anyhow I’m just saying)

 
I felt strongly motivated to write this post because then as now I feel strongly about bigotry of any kind.   And I was responding to many socially dominant women who were  (and still are)  perpetrating a huge number of unfavourable prejudices against pro doms, for reasons they  said  were mostly to do with pro doms supposedly being responsible for  [insert arbitrary sexuality/social-politics-related accusations here].   And I wanted to respond to that.
 

    The only difference  between what I thought when I originally wrote this post in June 2007 and what I think now in July 2010 is that I used to think that pro doms weren’t sex workers, and now ok, I acknowledge that pro doms are sex workers.   But I still strenuously object to any blanket prejudice against them or any other group based solely on arbitrary criteria such as gender or profession.

 
I still think that such bigotry and prejudice is abysmally unfair and wrong and bad for all of us.   And I still want to highlight the fact that personal experiences with individual fuckwits can never justify targeting all members of a group  (such as all pro doms),  because blanket targeting of entire groups of people only propagates bigotry and benefits nobody.  

I still encounter a great deal of prejudice  against pro doms.   I still know now as I knew then that pro doms as a group are not responsible for any unpleasant experiences anybody may have had with individual fuckwits.   And even though I still oppose the prejudice just as strongly, my experiences since then help me to understand it a bit better.   So my anti-prejudice reasons for writing this post still stand.

Miyagawa Isshô - Spring Pastimes H

    Yes, sex workers tend to develop views about social relationships based on their experiences, which are often at odds with those who have never done sex work.

    Yes, sex workers tend to develop views of social relationships based their personal experiences with sex industry-advocated ideas.

    And yes, pro doms in particular tend to assume and advocate views of BDSM and relationships to others which are totally unworkable for most social BDSM relationships.

 
Nevertheless, what individual pro doms believe and do with their personal ideas of BDSM is still separate and different and unrelated to anybody else’s social BDSM relationship choices, style, beliefs and practices.

So whilst I disagree with many of the pro doms I’ve met  and their attitudes towards BDSM and social relationships, and whilst I frequently find that what pro doms have to say about social BDSM relationships is very unpleasant for me to hear, for the same reasons I object to prejudice, bigotry and exclusion against any group of people I continue to object to blanket prejudice, bigotry and exclusion against pro doms.

Also, going through the first sections of this post, I see that I had been confusing

  • pro doms – sex workers
  • BDSM – sex
  •  
    I appreciate now that those are two separate topics.
     

      At any rate, I’m glad I can enjoy my BDSM exactly as I like it in my social relationships with my chosen partners regardless of what anybody else believes or does.

      I’m also glad I’m not a pro dom.

     
    End of Update  –  July 2010
     

    Indexathon

    Henri Gerbault - Au Bois - 1907

     

    About Lady Lubyanka

    I am a 45 year old musician, and also a multisexual, polyamourous, Jewish, socially dominant woman within my romantic BDSM relationships.
    This entry was posted in BDSM, BDSM dating, definition, exclusion, fuckwits, Human Beingness 101, Me Me Me Me Me, Power Exchange, Psychology, Rant, Rantfest, Respect. Bookmark the permalink.

    16 Responses to Rant: Attitudes Towards Pro Doms

    1. Thank you sssssally. :)

      It’s kind of hard to imagine why anybody would enjoy me ranting on at (rather verbose) length about anything at all, but there you go. ;)

      I’m glad you enjoyed it. That gives me the warm fuzzies. :)

    2. sssssally says:

      Wow. Great post :) Thanks for this :)

    3. Rainnie says:

      speaking as one of the aforementioned neanderthals who do not like ProDommes simply because of their profession, I have to say thanks for this article. Or rant. Informative rant. I still dont like Pro Dommes, well not them personally, just the job description I guess. Its not something I could ever bring myself to do. Not because it is nasty or prostitution or anything like that (and NO I do not feel that a Pro Domme is in fact a prostitute) but because it is accepting money for something I do anyway. I am trying to simplify a complex thought process here and it’s not working very well.
      I personally do not feel comfortable with the concept of a Pro Domme. I dont judge them on a generalized basis, and I try to accept the fact that – like a wild animal – they just do what they do. But then there are a lot of professions I do not like – though I have nothing against the people IN them. Maybe thats it.

    4. Aww, Rainnie, you’re not a Neanderthal. :)

      I guess you know that doing something because you want to is not the same as doing it for a living. I play music for a living, and I can tell you it most definitely is not the same as playing music just because I want to, or feel like it. The two things don’t mutually exclude each other, I still do gigs when they’re booked, and I also play for fun with my mates.

      Pro doms aren’t accepting money for doing what you do. They’re doing something different. They’re doing a transaction in which different rules apply. If I play for fun, it doesn’t matter if I turn up late, or stop in the middle whenever I want, or get drunk or play badly. If I’m doing a gig I need to ensure that I’m prompt, that all my gear is functional and present, that I’m not too inebriated to do my job, that I’m all psyched up and ready to go.

      In a gig, I can’t just stop in the middle any time I want to. I can’t drink too much, can’t play badly, and can’t arrive late. In a gig I know I’ve got to play from such-and-such o’clock to such-and-such o’clock. When I play for fun I can play from and til whatever time I want. Two different things, that from the outside, look the same.

      I am not sure about this, I feel somehow that you may feel threatened by the very idea of pro domness. I could be mistaken, of course. :) I sort of think I’m getting the impression that in some way, you don’t like the idea of pro doms because you maybe feel that some people (stupid people), in their minds, will think there’s no difference between pro doms and social doms, and therefore think you’re one of them?

      So it would make sense if you didn’t like them, because you have uncomfortable feelings about them (which are probably nothing to do with them, since you never met any).

      Maybe I should have put a fact in that post:

      Fact: Pro Doms Are Not There To Make Social Doms Feel Uncomfortable.

      :)

      Maybe if you met one, you’d feel differently? Or maybe not. I’ve met pro doms (in person) whom I think are just lovely. And I have met pro doms (in person) whom I think are dangerous lunatics who are This Close (====>.

    5. Damn, truncated, crap. Lemme see if I can remember what came after….

      who are This Close (.) to being arrested and incarcerated for assault and battery. But then, that’s not so different from the people I meet who are not pro doms. :p

      I find myself curious regarding the root source of your discomfort on this topic, because it doesn’t seem rooted and based in the pure on-the-surface logic of it.

      Anyhow, it’s great to see you here and thanks for looking in. :)

      Banana waves from,

      Lubyanka. :)

    6. Oh, no, please, rant away! Comments mean somebody read it, lol, and that’s all yummy goodness for me. :D

      I’m detecting a few issues here. One is the your idea of financial involvement in D/s, another is your idea of financial involvement in ownership, and still another is your idea of what other people think of financial involvement in D/s, ownership, and its reflection on you in the eyes of others.

      The biggie I’m getting from this post is the financial involvement in ownership and other people’s perceptions of it, as reflecting on yourself.

      What I’m wondering is, why it bothers you so much what choices other people make, and why you think it reflects or affects you in any way. And also what this has to do with pro doms as a whole.

      Every profession and walk of life has a myriad of different kinds of people in it. Some are admirable, some are not. Some have some degree of self destructive behaviour, some do not.

      I’m wondering what you think other people’s choices, whether beneficial or not, have anything to do with you? And also, why do choices, made by others, which you feel are not beneficial, upset you so much? If you feel what you do is the optimum thing for you, what does it matter what other people do or think?

      Not every pro dom takes money for bestowing a collar. Not every financial transaction with a dominant is on a pro dom basis. Some doms take money in financial domination. Ultimately, a collar is worth what the dominant who offers it is worth, irrespective of what is given in exchange for it.

      So what I’m wondering here is, is the issue of paying money for a collar the big issue for you here? Is that the main association you make with being a pro dom? Or is there something else about pro doms which bothers you?

      Please do go on, you’re being very generous here with your honest analysis of your attitudes, and I’m very much interested in your thoughts on this. :)

      Much banana goodness, from

      Lubyanka. :)

    7. Rainnie says:

      The source of my discomfort more than likely originally stems from the vanilla world and its perceptions of the Lifestyle in general, and the somehow ‘dirty’ connotation of having to pay for something that can be sexual in nature. and OMG that is so hypocritical of me! I used to work in the adult entertainment industry, so I should not be quite so judgemental. The only contact I have had with any ProDommes has been online. I have met a few who are nice as pie, but it’s the submissives I have met who are ‘owned’ or ‘collared’ by a ProDomme that are probably the biggest reason for my discomfort. I guess I do feel threatened by someone accepting payment for a collar. Having a submissive or slave is a lot of work (with great rewards) and making a relationship work right is a give and take on both sides. It takes a great deal of commitment. And I do not see the same level of commitment in a ProDomme relationship. Again, I have not seen both sides, so I do not know for a fact that a ProDomme does not genuinely care for the submissive under her care. But to accept money for the devotion of a collared slave grates on my sense of fair play.
      I do see that there is a need for such professionals in the Lifestyle – as it is difficult to find one who matches our needs. And I can understand that seeing a ProDomme is the only outlet that some submissives have. However (and again this is just My opinion), a distinction should be made between a collar given by a ProDomme and one given by a ‘regular’ Dominant. (LOL maybe its just the delineation of Pro versus Amateur)

      *munches on a banana and apologizes for ranting so much in Your rant*
      (what?? they are for eating too!)

      Rainnie =o]

    8. Ok, I think we’re really getting somewhere here, well done. :D

      When you started saying about the dingdingding in your head, I had a few dings in mine. I thought, ok, feelings of self worth, need for external validation, unfair treatment by the vanilla world unable and/or unwilling to celebrate difference.

      Not to mention, issues with love. I’ll start with that one first:

      I think you’d probably agree that love is love, the real thing can’t be bought, or sold, or traded, or negotiated, or bargained for. It can’t be grudgingly offered, or conditional, or partial. Love is what it is.

      Now, I totally understand where you’re coming from on this one. Too many times to count, people have used the “L” word at me, simply as a way to manipulate me. Do I have issues with it as a result? You bet your arse!!! ;)

      Now, I could imagine a situation where love is genuine, and as a separate thing, money is offered in exchange for something in addition to love, which as we both know, is not something which can be bought. I have no problem with that scenario.

      I can also imagine a situation where one person gives money, in exchange for a collar, and allegedly, “love”. However much I think is wrong with that scenario, it’s nothing to do with me whether I like it or not. So, for now, I’m going to leave that pretty little self destructive situation to one side.

      Now, with the pro domming being “real” or not:

      Pro doms offer something different to social doms. That’s a fact. It’s also the case that pro doms can have life partners whose feelings for each other are every bit as valid and genuine as anybody else’s. I believe that it’s also the case that some pro doms, the good ones, have a genuine regard and respect for their clients. I’m sure the clients are able to tell which pro doms feel this way and which ones don’t.

      I’m sure you know that not all pro doms are the same.

      Ok, now I’m going to look at the feelings you expressed regarding your own sense of self worth:

      It is totally not uncommon for people to have feelings of a poor self image. This can manifest itself an loads of different and creative ways. The brain also has tons of equally varied and creative ways of hiding this fact from ourselves.

      Feelings of poor self worth can lead to feelings of intense need for positive external validation from others. When this is not forthcoming, it can reinforce the feelings of poor self worth, which to be honest, can hurt like strapon penetration with piles.

      Part of the ingredients which contribute to feelings of poor self worth, can be anger related to unfair attribution of responsibility for things which aren’t your fault. Even though your adult mind knows intellectually what’s realistically your responsiblity and what isn’t, your emotional self still responds vivdly to feelings of unfair blame as it did when you were a child.

      And again, the brain has loads of interesting creative ways of hiding this fact from us.

      I am going to speculate here that your feelings of poor self worth are fuelling this entire issue inside you. I think it’s possible that you feel as if you yourself, in effect, are the Pro Dommes which the vanilla world love to despise. There’s so many things in that scenario which fit:

      1. Feelings of poor self worth, anger at, and fear of poor treatment from others, disguised as contempt for pro doms.

      2. Feelings of poor self worth, and fear of poor treatment, continually reinforced by the vanilla world’s unfair blame on pro doms (i.e. all things different, i.e. you).

      3. Feelings of anger at and fear of the unfair blame which the vanilla world attributes to pro doms (i.e. all things which they regard as external to them and therefore responsible for all evils in the world, since it can’t be their fault, oh no, so it must all be the pro doms’ fault, i.e. YOUR fault).

      4. Continual lack of positive external validation from the vanilla world, reinforcing your own feelings of self blame, self doubt, fear, anger, and poor self worth, since you are continually treated as being of little value (as pro doms often are treated).

      5. Apportioning of responsibility on the pro doms for your utterly unpleasant feelings, and on the vanilla world, since it’s so much easier and safer to believe that unpleasant feelings of anger, fear, poor self worth and unimportance are somebody else’s fault (which they are, but not the pro doms’ responsibility).

      6. “Joining in” with the bullies (vanilla world) in bullying the pro doms in an effort to “fit in” and be “more normal” so that you won’t be quite so much of a target for the bullies next time round.

      So, I’m going to make a leap here and deduce that you have been unconsciously using pro doms as a way to examine your own feelings regarding your anger, fear, self image, self worth, and identity, and how all those are supposed to “fit in” to a world populated by intolerant people.

      The really depressing thing is, I think that this is how intolerance in all its forms is born and grows. I don’t think most intolerant people start out as being evil. I think a lot of them share your fear and anger and poor self worth, and the whole world reinforces these feelings because the bulk of the people in it all have similar ones.

      I think you were really splendiforous there, looking so closely and honestly at your attitudes. I can’t tell you enough how much I admire you at the end there where you admitted that you might have been in error. Way to go. :D

      And yay me for presenting such a persuasive premise, lol.

      The Mutual Appreciation Society is now in session. :p

      Big smiles and celebratory banana waves, from

      Lubyanka.

      ps: Must go to bed now, kvetch is coming up in a few hours and I should really be awake for that, lol. :p

    9. Rainnie says:

      This is something of a journey of self discovery here, actually trying to identify why I feel the way I do about something that I had heretofore thought of as an irrational dislike. In your reply you commented “Ultimately, a collar is worth what the Dominant who offers it is worth, irrespective of what is given in exchange for it.” and that set off little *dingdingding* bells in my head. And I have always felt that having to pay for love cheapens it. It is not quite genuine.
      I suppose that is how I see ProDomming – as somehow not as genuine as a “real” relationship. I put that in quotations because I know that we all perceive a relationship in different ways. For myself, I suspect I have a very Vanilla-like viewpoint. (although I have always claimed I am no more than vanilla – with cinnamon swirls)
      Submission is something that I have always seen as something that is offered freely. Acceptance of that submission – of that ultimate gift of power – should be accepted just as freely. I see having to pay someone to give them that gift – as somehow not as genuine or special. And yes I do see that that type of service reflects on me in the way that others (the ‘outside world’) view me and the lifestyle choices I have made. I want acceptance from the vanilla world. and all the vanilla world sees of our lifestyle usually are the Professionals. And to be honest, a ProDomme doesnt offer a true window into the lifestyle. It is a service, nothing more.
      They are actors on a stage, with a script of how things are going to go. Nice to look at – but no real depth.
      I wonder if my view would change if I went to a ‘dungeon’ and watched…

      Now you have me thinking I have been wrong…

      Rainnie

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    12. Leopold says:

      Dear Lady Lubyanka,

      You write wonderfully, and I will probably read it all sometime, but breakfast and work await and the dog needs a walk – yet I can’t resist the subject of this rant.

      I started my journey into bdsm 3 years ago by visiting a pro-domme I found on-line. Her website impressed me and made me feel confident enough that she wouldn’t splash my name to the newspapers that I went to see her. I was not disappointed. Three years hence, we are on friendly terms, and I know her to be a real lifestyle, lesbian, pro-domme who is highly ethical, very professional, and gleefully sadistic. She’s just for real. She cares about people, has a real life, loves animals, is a talented business woman, fetish model… In short, she does what she does with the same high standards as any good doctor or lawyer does what they do. I have been to two other pro-dommes who are equally wonderful. They have done a lot to support my growth and have always treated me with respect and compassion. They’ve made me feel validated, and they have my undying admiration and gratitude for their hotness, their calculated meanness, and kindness to match. They are unique, beautiful people.

      My opinion is based on only three women, but it is completely positive. So, I liked your rant, and your point about having to show up on time and see clients they may not particularly like (if they choose to) is a good one. It’s just part of professionalism and running a successful business.

    13. Thank you Leopold.   :)

    14. Maxine says:

      Hi there!

      I’ve been reading several of your rants over the last week or so, and very much enjoying your viewpoints. I like the way you think!

      My attitude to pro-domming (and indeed to sex work, though I’m very clear indeed that they’re not the same thing) is much the same as my attitude towards my artwork – I’m a professional artist. I have a skill, and one which I’ve worked long and hard to build up. In order for people to enjoy that skill, I need the time in which to perform it, and in order to have the time, I need an income. The most efficient way to organise that is to accept money directly for my work, which means that I’m spending all of my time doing what I’m best at, and making the largest number of people happy that I can. Yes, I’d be painting still if I wasn’t paid for it (and I do), but if I’d talked myself out of getting paid for it on those grounds then fewer people would be enjoying my work.

      I suppose what I really don’t understand is not so much why pro-dommes are mistakenly associated with sex-work, but why there’s a stigma against either. Making people feel good – however that’s achieved – is in my opinion a noble and worthwhile career, and should be applauded.

      (Incidentally I have met a couple of pro dommes, and dozens of lifestyle ones, and they’ve all been lovely – as have the male pro-doms I’ve met. It only seems to be the male lifestyle doms that acts like dicks in my experience)

      M.

      • Heh, many of the tops I’ve met support your “acts like dicks” assessment, regardless of their gender. :p

        However, of the pro doms I’ve met  (quite a few)  and the numerous social tops and bottoms I’ve met of varying genders, in my experience they vary from lovely to horrible in just the same way everybody else does. My experience fuels my pessimism that most are horrible, and a few are lovely, and I find that applies to human beings regardless of orientation, sexual proclivities, hair colour, gender, ethnic diversity, occupation, or beverage preference.

        I must acknowledge my bias favouring those human beings who share my love of mustard, though. Does that make me a condiment bigot? :p

    15. Maxine says:

      Heh, depends on the kind of mustard ;)

      I have to confess to a bias towards tea drinkers, as well, myself.

    Spill yo oh-PIN-yunz after the tone ...

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